Early in 2004, Jari Mäenpää (of Ensiferum fame) had his side project, Wintersun, well in the works. Wintersun finally came to fruition with their debut album on September 13, 2004. But, the release of the self-titled Wintersun forced Jari to choose between the two bands, with Wintersun ultimately becoming the priority. It was a wise decision given the album’s critical acclaim. Wintersun is considered to be one of the greatest metal albums ever, sitting at Number 15 on MetalStorm’s Top 100 albums (highest rated among users of the site). So, where does a band go from there? Well, if you’re Wintersun, you don’t really go anywhere. The last few years has been a roller coaster ride for the band and its fans, with news of more recordings and tours, followed by news of mishaps, canceled tour dates and pushed back release dates.
Cliché power metal band collage
Fans first got word about Wintersun’s second album, Time, on September 29, 2005. The band booked studio time to begin recording in May of 2006. All was going well and smooth until October of 2006 when news of the band’s exit from their fall tour broke. Though no details were released, fans were also told that the recording of Time was going to be delayed. Six months went by without any updates on the now much-hyped album release, then came the news that it would not be released in 2007. Now, some people may not know this, but it is not commonplace for a band to begin recording an album and not release it within a year and a half (unless, of course, Axl Rose is in your band). So what could possibly be the excuse for Wintersun’s delay? In Jari’s own words, “I’ve set the bar really high on this album, but my equipment isn’t even close what I need to work faster.”
Cover for Wintersun's (eventual) album, Time
This sounds like a joke, right? Jari really ought to to man-up and play with the gear available. If the equipment was good enough to make one of the best metal albums ever, why the sudden need for gear upgrades? Even more ridiculous, Jari went on to say that he was not sure the material he had would even fit on a standard audio CD, since he had written more than 80 minutes of material. The technological problems reported by Jari most likely spawned from having more than 200 audio tracks per song in some cases (for those unfamiliar with recording and production, this is a staggeringly absurd number of tracks). That many tracks per song = overkill.
Jari Mäenpää, organizer of Wintersun
More than a year later, there was finally some good news in the Wintersun camp. Nuclear Blast (their label) stepped in and helped them get the necessary gear and equipment to finish the album. But that effort was in vain, since Time was not released. Another year went by before the next Wintersun update, and what a surprise, more bad news! On February 27, 2009, the most recent update of the Time endeavor, Jari lists the following roadblocks for releasing the album: personal issues, writers block, technological problems. Even worse than the announcement giving out false hope with yet another release date, was the news that all Wintersun shows are canceled until Time is released.
At this point, the whole scenario could very well could be a joke. I do not like to count my chickens before they hatch, but this smells an awful lot like the Chinese Democracy fiasco. At some point, someone in the band needs to say, “Hey, maybe we should release the album as we have it now, and focus on our third album.” If Wintersun keeps delaying the album release, they will have missed the opportunity to capitalize on their 2004 success as well as put themselves in the unfortunate position of building expectations so high that album can’t possibly deliver. The biggest question now, even bigger than when will the album be released, is the question of will the album ever be released? The band should seriously consider either releasing the album in the very near future or just hanging it up, happy with the success of Wintersun.
If you wish to check out Wintersun’s never ending news updates, check out their home page. They even have a couple songs there for free download, check them out below:
Wintersun Medley 1, “the Fast, agressive, technical and melodic s***” has parts of “Winter Madness,” “Beyond the Dark Sun” and “Battle Against Time”
Wintersun Medley 2, the “Slower, majestic and epic s***” — has parts from “Sadness and Hate”, “Sleeping Stars” and “Death and the Healing”